Kenya is losing at least Sh120 billion in revenue to unregistered agro-chemicals dealers and counterfeit pesticides, according to Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK) chairperson Patrick Amayunzu.
AAK said counterfeits account for 15 to 20 per cent of agrochemicals being distributed in the country, posing a threat to farmers and the environment.
Some of the companies with the fake products are generating labels similar to the genuine ones especially for the fast moving products, and employing poor marketing practices such as selling from trucks of cars.
Amayunzu said a lot of the pesticides in the agrovets shelves are expired, adding purchase of these products could cost farmers their entire harvest.
“Many farmers do not know genuine products from the way they are packaged and also from intensive convincing on the effectiveness of those products by the dealers. This leaves them at the risk of loosing 30 to 100 per cent of yields,” he said.
AAK in collaboration with Crop Life Director International is conducting a risk mitigation workshop for stakeholders in an initiative to attain 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals which strives to promote sustainable agriculture, well-being of the farmers and achieve food security.
Agrochemicals dealers have been pushing for self regulation to step up the fight against fake pesticides.
The association has proposed to detach itself from counterfeiters, license manufacturers, salesmen and dealers, making it a crime for anyone to handle, deal or sell counterfeit products to farmers.
AAK has also partnered with Pest Control Product (PCP) Board, the regulatory service to inspect and govern demonstrating efficacy of products before they are granted regimentation and sales licensing in order to mitigate potential harmful effects and counter the loses by the farmers.
“There is therefore need to collaborate with all stakeholders to train on effective use of pesticides to maximise benefits and minimise risks,” Amayunzu said.
He said the sale of fake pesticides is most prevalent in hot climate regions prone to pests, diseases and weeds.
Food and Agriculture Organisation Programme Officer Stanley Kimereh urged farmers to the PCP board to ensure agrochemicals purchased were safe and legitimate.
“It is almost impossible to carry out large-scale commercial agriculture without pesticides leading to exploitation of farmers through agrochemicals adulteration. It is therefore important for farmers to work with PCP board to identify stockists with genuine products,” he said.